How many days a week should I run? If you are new to running, this question can haunt you. Should you run every day? Every other day?
It’s so hard to know, because you see some people running once a week, some every other day, and some every day. So, how do you decide?
Well, if you are a beginner, it’s pretty obvious that you should run less than those elite runners. You know – the ones who run seven days a week.
There are guys that sometimes even run twice a day if they are in the middle of peak training for an event. But if you are just starting out, you know that running every day isn’t something you should be striving for.
So, what should you shoot for? The truth is everyone is different.
The real question is not how many days you should run each week, but what’s the right number of days for you?
One day per week
Yes, there are people who run only one day a week. And there are many reasons why a person may choose to run only one day a week.
If you are brand new to running, like literally brand new, then you may be starting out at just one day a week. This could be a walk/run. These newbies might be walking the other days or doing some other form of exercise and are just easing into running.
Testing the waters, so to speak.
Some people are out of shape, and this limits them to just one day a week. They too, are just getting started. As they get stronger, and more fit, they may be able to add in another day.
Injury can limit someone to just one day a week as well. Runners who were recently out of commission for a long period of time need to ease themselves back in slowly, and one day a week will do just that.
People who do not have a lot of time to run might just do one day a week as well. It might be all that they can squeeze in. And let’s face it, one day a week is better than none at all.
And finally, let’s be honest. Some people just lack the discipline to run more than one day a week. They have the time, they have the desire, they know that they want to run more, and are capable….they just don’t know how to consistently lace up those tennies.
One day a week is better than none.
If you decide to just run one day a week
Congratulations! You are running. If you beat yourself up for not running more, stop! You can run just one day a week and still be a runner.
To prevent injury, however, keep your runs to fairly short distances. We’re talking one to two miles, at a very low intensity. A walk/jog would even be a good idea.
And if you want to move to more than just one day a week, do it slowly. Add in another day, and then another, slowly increasing the mileage as well.
Two days per week
People who run two days a week are generally more active than the one-dayers. These runners often participate in sports and other activities, on top of running.
But they might only run two days a week because they are busy with those other activities the rest of the week.
These runners are often in better shape because they are active on the other days, and this makes it easier for them to get two good runs in each week.
Runners who are just coming off a mild injury, such as a rolled ankle, might limit themselves to just a couple of days a week as well. Coming back slowly reduces the chance of reinjury. After they are clear from risk, they usually increase their days.
If you decide to run two days a week
If you run a couple of times a week, you should consider running more than a mile each session. You might aim for two to three miles each time you head out that door.
And run! Not at a crazy fast pace, but you can try to run the whole thing. Challenge yourself not to walk. Just go at an easy, mild pace.
If you want to increase your running days, do it slowly. Keep the same mileage each time, or even decrease it, on your additional days. Just slowly add in a day or two. You can up the ante to three days a week, or work on running every other day.
Three to four days per week
People that fall into this category are starting to really consider themselves runners.
These people have a purpose for their running – a goal they are trying to meet.
They may be trying to stay lean or even lose weight. Running is great for weight loss. Consistency is, of course, key, so three to four days a week is perfect for runners trying to lose weight.
Or, these runners may be training for a race, such as a 5K.
If you decide to run three to four days a week
Set a goal for your runs. Is it weight loss? Staying in shape? Building endurance?
If you are training for a 5K, running three to four days a week is perfect, especially if it’s your first. This will build up your cardiovascular system, but still give your body plenty of days for rest and recovery.
Most runners who run three to four days a week are running three to six miles each session. So, challenge yourself to slowly build up mileage.
Five to Six days per week
These are some serious runners. They are usually seasoned runners, who have been running for a very long time, because again they are running so often each week
These runners are often addicted to running. They seriously enjoy running, and do not feel right in their skin unless they have gotten that run in.
Or, they could be preparing for a race, such as a triathlon, marathon or half marathon. Training for super long races demands consistent training, nearly every day.
These people are usually logging between 30 and 60 miles a week. They typically run anywhere from five to ten miles per run, five to six times a week.
Seven days per week
Very few people run seven days a week. This is because it is hard on your body.
Running is physically demanding, which means your body needs time to rest and rebuild. If you run every single day, it doesn’t give your body enough time to properly mend itself.
So, the people who run seven days a week are usually elite athletes – at the collegiate or professional level. These runners generally have a team of physicians and coaches supporting them.
So what is the right number of days for me?
So, which one are you? How many days a week should I run? One day, or three? Which category describes who you are and your goal for running?
If you are just getting started, are a bit out of shape, or have very little time, one to two days a week is perfect for you. If you are thinking about training for a 5K or want to run to stay lean, then three to four days is the perfect amount.
But if you are training for a longer race, it’s time to crank it up. How many days you run each week is entirely up to you. Everyone is different. Consider your goals and your reason for running, and then adjust your days and mileage accordingly.
You can run six days a week, or as little as one day a week. How often you run is ultimately up to you.
All that matters is that you are staying healthy, and at least somewhat enjoy your runs.